Islington is a vibrant and diverse borough with a good supply of local jobs, access to the wider London economy, a rich cultural heritage, and some of the highest property prices in the country. However, contrary to this image of affluence, many Islington families are living in poverty. The Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019 ranked Islington as the sixth most deprived local authority in London. It has the tenth highest level of income deprivation affecting children, and fourth highest in England for income deprivation affecting older people (out of 317 local authorities).
Studies have proven that unemployment negatively impacts a young person in the long-term, affecting their self-esteem and future earnings. The young people Spear Islington works with experience a range of challenges; on average 63% are from workless households, 49% receive free school meals, 57% have less than five GCSEs and most lack confidence and self-belief. Many of these young people suffer from some form of poverty including lack of money and other resources and an absence of supportive relationships or stable family life. This often leads to a sense of hopelessness driving all too many young people into gangs and related violence, addictions and withdrawal from normal society.
We launched the Spear Programme in Islington into order to help young people realise their potential and give them hope for their future.